Last year the University of Salford bought 30 iD14 audio interfaces, which were put straight to work in the Music directorate’s iMac suite. With three ASP8024 consoles in its arsenal already, the University is no stranger to Audient, so it’s no surprise that when kitting out the School of Arts & Media’s new home – due to open later this year – they made sure some ASP8024 Heritage Edition consoles were at the top of the wish list.
Audient chatted with Technical Manager, Andrew Davison to find out more about the Audient appeal.
You have 30 iD14s – wow! Tell us about how you are using the Audient audio interfaces at the University. Can you describe the setup?
Our iD14 interfaces were put into action for the start of teaching last year, with a view to moving them into an expanded Music and Sound Design suite in New Adelphi, which will be the home of the School of Arts & Media from September 2016.
We currently have around twenty iD14s connected to new 27” iMacs, with the remainder available for field recording.
“We can confidently tell our students that the quality of their audio input in the practice environment or in the field reflects what they’ll experience in the recording studio.”
As we have a number of the Audient ASP8024 recording consoles, we were keen to provide something of similarly high quality in our cluster environment, and the use of the Audient console mic pre was a real positive. We can confidently tell our students that the quality of their audio input in the practice environment or in the field reflects what they’ll experience in the recording studio.
Tell us a bit more about the courses on which the units are used.
The interfaces are used for all group teaching and individual practice in music technology course modules, which can form part of our Creative Music Technology, Musical Arts or Popular Music Recording degree programmes. The University of Salford was the first UK institution to offer courses of this type, starting with multitrack tape technology in the 1970s.
We still teach these analogue techniques today, as we believe they’re crucial to a proper understanding the recording process; though we’ve obviously got some rather more modern methods on hand as well!
How are you finding them to work with from a technical perspective?
They’re a great audio interface for the teaching environment. Because the iD14 is solidly built with a metal chassis, it’s robust enough to take the punishment a busy educational facility can throw at it. The operation is incredibly straightforward and some sensible design decisions have been made to minimise the footprint, while still providing the greatest possible flexibility; such as combination XLR / jack sockets and the fact that the unit can run entirely from bus power, only disabling phantom power if the 12V adapter isn’t present. The solid DI also makes it easy for students to track guitars outside of the studio, giving them more opportunity to practice the techniques without taking up their valuable recording time.
“Of the hundreds of students we have using the iD14, we’re yet to receive a complaint, and we’ve not had a single incidence of hardware failure.”
What kind of feedback have you had from students?
Student feedback has been very positive, though sometimes a more representative collective opinion can be gained by considering what hasn’t been said! Of the hundreds of students we have using the iD14, we’re yet to receive a complaint, and we’ve not had a single incidence of hardware failure. That’s a pretty successful record in my opinion, and since we started providing them as bookable interfaces for field work, they’ve become the most popular unit to take out.
What have you liked about the units?
The two tried-and-tested pres have to be the starting point for us. They sound great and really play nicely with the wide variety of microphones we have on offer.
Having a large, obvious rotary control for output levels is great; students are just drawn to that dial and intuitively know that it controls the output, even if they needed some initial prompting on the buttons.
From a personal point of view, there’s a real killer feature hiding on the back. Adding an optical port with dual S/PDIF and ADAT capability elevates the iD14 above the competition in this price bracket. Using ADAT you can easily gain access to a bank of additional mic pres or connect to a wide variety of weird and wonderful multichannel devices, which makes it a really flexible field device.
Your music technology courses at University of Salford are popular aren’t they?
Yes, the music tech courses are always fully subscribed and are some of the most popular offered by the university. We have a fantastically talented student base and I can only see competition for places increase as we move into the new facilities.
“There’s simply no other analogue mixer that can beat it for features and quality at anywhere near the price point.”
Six ASP8024 Heritage Edition consoles are in the pipeline for you as well – congratulations! This sounds like a huge new facility. Tell us more about that.
We’re very excited about our new home! New Adelphi is a brand-new, highly technical, £55m building specifically designed to be an environment for ‘doing’. It will house two theatres, art and design workshops, fashion, dance and photography studios, screen and voice acting studios, and of course, our new recording studios.
All of the recording studios are generously sized and will combine digital and analogue technology in such a way that you can record a purely analogue session, purely digital, or whatever combination is creatively interesting. Five of the studios have their own live rooms, while the sixth is linked to a large double-height ensemble room; perfect for big recording sessions of bands and orchestras.
It’s going to be a unique environment, with amazing potential for collaboration across all of the School’s specialties.
Why choose the Audient ASP8024 Heritage Edition in particular?
We chose to furnish all of the studios with ASP8024 consoles as there’s simply no other analogue mixer that can beat it for features and quality at anywhere near the price point.
It’s crucial to our way of teaching that we don’t sacrifice the analogue process, so digital desks simply didn’t interest us. Digital methods can now be layered into an analogue studio very neatly, so some of our new mixing desks will feature digital control surfaces right on the console, so students can take advantage of both.
Having used the ASP8024 in our current studios for nearly a decade, we’re very glad Audient have maintained its analogue roots without compromise. The updated Heritage Edition enhances the features we use every day and builds in new functionality that our students and staff are going to take full advantage of.
Being able to offer new consoles in each studio, each tailored to that control room, will offer the perfect mix of familiarity and flexibility. We’re really looking forward to them arriving!
Huge thanks Andy – and the best of luck with New Adelphi!